Once queer meant that one could get outside of one’s own identity

Suzanne Moore says remember who brung ya.

Everyone now is bisexual, pansexual, agender (without a gender). It’s all so wild. Miley, Cara, various models. Young people are coming out of the closet into a hall of mirrors. For this “coming out” often says my insides feel different to my outsides. Hear me roar. Welcome to the world, friends, for who does not feel like that?

Exactly. This isn’t some hot new thing, it’s just how people are. Granted it is more talked about now, but that doesn’t mean it’s a new invention.

Now that there is a new set of identities for people to pick’n’mix, it would be gracious not to erase those who lived and died with more fixed identities. This is not melodrama, this is history as power. Laurie Penny recently came out as a genderqueer feminist but she differs from many of her genderqueer friends: “I still identify politically as a woman. My identity is more complex than female or male.” This I take for granted. So why does it need to be said? Penny is extremely smart and if she wants to present as a sexual outlaw that’s fine. Try being a “butch dyke” or is that not quite radical enough?

Nah. *yawn* That’s so last year.

The current preoccupation with being on the sexual edge and yes, call me a Terf or a Swerf or my own term Smurf (Some Made-Up Radical Feminist) if you like, but I don’t just check my privilege, I check our history. Because if sex is just something you do rather than something you are, then it is way easier to play with gender. Yet it has become so muddled that every identity must be proclaimed in a hierarchy of grievance. This fragmentation, which is not intersectionality, but rather an increasingly insular discussion about cis-nessmicroaggressions and trigger warnings, runs in horrific parallel to images of women being raped and killed all over the world.

Once, queer meant that one could get outside of one’s own identity. My male gay friends came on abortion marches with me. I went to Aids vigils with them. Even now I see that the fight about reproductive rights for women continues and while places such as Ireland can accept gay marriage and the decriminalisation of drugs, they still won’t decriminalise women’s bodies.

But hey, we’re just cis women, we don’t own feminism.

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